As you no doubt know, in February NRCA filed a petition for judicial review
of new rules issued by the Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (OSHA) that fundamentally change the requirements
for protecting workers from falls on residential roofing projects.
The new OSHA rules, which were issued in December 2010 and take
effect June 16, no longer allow the use of slide guards, or roof
brackets, as an acceptable means of fall protection except in some
NRCA argued that slide guards
are a reliable fall-protection method; they have been used
successfully for more than 15 years; and OSHA's new rules not only
are unnecessarily burdensome but will result in more job-site
accidents and injuries.
Unfortunately, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit,
Chicago, determined OSHA's new fall-protection rule was an
"exercise in prosecutorial discretion and not a new standard," and
OSHA was not required to conduct a rulemaking. The court dismissed
NRCA's petition, and the new OSHA
rules will stand.
"NRCA has requested a meeting
with OSHA as soon as possible to try to obtain the agency's
guidance about how roofing operations, especially repair and
reroofing work, can be performed when the unique nature of the
structure, environment and/or type of work precludes the safe use
of personal fall-arrest systems," says Tom Shanahan, NRCA's associate executive director of
risk management. "In addition, NRCA's Risk Management Department is
developing materials to help NRCA
members and the roofing industry understand how to comply with all
aspects of OSHA's...
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